Gabriela lawmakers slam Australian nun’s arrest
The arrest and detention of an Australian missionary nun advocating human rights is illegal and a “dangerous precedent to manhunt of rights defenders,” two lawmakers said on Tuesday.
Gabriela Women’s party Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas said they “strongly condemn” the “illegal arrest and detention” of Patricia Fox, 71.
“Sister Patricia was arrested and detained for merely participating in a recent international fact-finding and solidarity mission on the rights abuses in Mindanao. This can be a very loose pretext by the Duterte regime for nabbing anyone who stands up for human rights and against the attacks on civil liberties,” de Jesus said in a statement.
She was referring to the International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission (IFFSM) in Southern Mindanao to investigate the killings and alleged human rights violations against farmers.
“We cannot let this pass as it will widen the net of state forces in arbitrarily arresting activists and rights advocates. Sister Pat should be immediately released without conditions,” she added.
Brosas said it is ridiculous for the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to quickly list Fox for deportation even as BI spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang wrongly referred to her as Patricia Cox.
“This shows how desperate the Duterte regime is in harassing activists and criminalizing dissent. But by choosing to nab Sister Pat from her home based on flimsy grounds, this regime is only strengthening the growing opposition to Duterte’s iron-fisted and tyrannical rule,” she said, as they called for the nun’s immediate release.
Fox was an active land reform and human rights advocate and member of Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (Uma) and Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Patria).
She was reportedly visited by Immigration officers at her house in Quezon City and invited to the BI office for a random check and verification of her immigration papers and status.
Fox was the second foreign national and human rights advocate arrested by the BI in just two days.
Last Sunday, the BI detained and immediately deported Party of European Socialists (PES) leader Giacomo Filibeck, who criticized President Duterte’s drug war in 2017.
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